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Anna Meduna

  • Anna Meduna, Business AdministrationAnnaMeduna_web

    Anna won the Vol. 16 Grand Prize Prose Award for her simple, but affecting story, “The Value of a Little Time.” She shared a little time with us to discuss her writing.

    Illuminations: You won the Grand Prize Prose Award for your moving short story, “The Value of a Little Time.” Were you surprised at your win?

    Anna: Yes, I was! The story was originally written for my English Composition class, and my instructor suggested I submit it. I thought, "Why not? It is already all done." So getting a win with it was a surprise, but a very, very good surprise.

    I: What has been the reaction of those who have read your story in Illuminations?

    A: Naturally, my family members who have read the story have all been very proud of me. I have gotten a lot of comments on how "sweet" the story is and how it touches their hearts. It has been cool for me to see them enjoy it so much and even ask for copies because this not only allows them to read my story again but also to appreciate all of our other contributors' talents.

    I: So true! Your story tells about the narrator’s visit to an elderly woman who likes to “gab” with the narrator and her brother after they mow her lawn. Was this a true story, and if so, what drew you to writing about this experience?

    A: This was a true story that took place in my life during my junior and senior years of high school. My brother Isaac and I used to mow our neighbor Agnes's lawn once every week during the summer. When Agnes moved to a nursing home, we were initially kind of happy to move on to other jobs, but after a while, although we didn't miss the mowing, we did really start to miss seeing Agnes regularly. I think this feeling of missing Agnes is what led me to want to write about her when the opportunity came up in class to write about someone influential from my life. I didn't want to forget Agnes, and writing about her puts her on pages forever. It is also cool to let other people meet her through reading the story.

    I: That’s one of the great benefits of publication! In your Vol. 16 bio, you say that you’re from a large farming family and that you love to be outside. In fact, you hope to earn an agricultural economics degree to serve the people of your rural community. Where do you think your life will be in ten years?

    A: As a typical college student, I am really still unsure about exactly how my life will progress or look in ten years, but I do have some hopes. I really love the agricultural lifestyle and always want to be connected to that! I am hoping to work in a small town bank, most probably as a loan officer, and raise cattle in my off time. I would very much like to live on a farm and grow old surrounded by a loving, energetic family. I also hope to continue to cultivate my love for art—in writing, sketching, and design—in any spare time I have. I guess with that crazy mix of plans, I really don't know what I will get into!

    I: Hah! You say that your “passion lies in the usual things of life done with great care.” What do you mean by this, and do you see this philosophy applying to your writing, as well?

    A: There are many times on the farm or in life in general that we are required to do mundane things that sometimes never get noticed by others. We could just do these things, or we could take pride in them and do them out of love for others and love of our God. I have found that this second way is so rewarding! Doing these little things that no one else wants to do actually brings me joy because they are really important in their smallest way and if not done, the big things wouldn't go. Thinking in this way also lets me notice a lot of cool little things in my everyday life I would not have noticed. I think that is how it ties into writing—because it can be super interesting to look deeper into little events and make them into a whole story or idea about appreciating the human experience.

    I: Love that connection, Anna. You’re very active! How does writing fit into your daily life?

    A: My writing is very spasmodic right now! And what I mean by that is that it comes in spurts and then drops off for a while until I get another idea and run with it again. Lately, my writing is mostly to let out feelings and struggles in my heart. Reflecting on stuff I am experiencing by writing usually helps me see more clearly. I hope to continue writing as I grow older, and I really think that what I write will depend greatly on what my life is going through at the time; maybe I will be recording memories or writing to grasp at future plans.

    I: What advice would you give others who are interested in, but shy about, submitting their work to Illuminations?

    A: DO IT! It is really a great feeling to see your work in print. If you love what you made, chances are others will, too. Just give it a try and see what happens!

    I: And finally, the random question of the day: What’s under your bed?

    A: Trash and dust bunnies. My bed sits on the floor, but somehow enough junk finds its way under there!

    From “The Value of a Little Time,”
    by Anna Meduna:

    The following week, we pulled up Agnes’s lengthy driveway for our first day of work. The leaves from her tall trees cast a sprinkled pattern of shade over our pickup window as we stopped and unloaded our equipment. After a brief talk with Albert, Agnes’s son, we began. Though Agnes had an expansive lawn, with two mowers Isaac and I finished in a little over an hour. That was when we were met by Agnes herself. She was in her late 80s with thin, blond curls atop her small head. She was dressed in a worn, green polo shirt over loose floral pants and threadbare socks, which we soon found to be her usual outfit. In a small voice, she invited us in to wash our hands and grab a soda and some cookies, “freshly baked.” Isaac and I, accustomed to talking to older folks, were glad to oblige her for a few minutes, as we thought a few minutes would not hurt our time. We strolled up a short sidewalk and through her back door to a small porcelain sink with embroidered towels to wash up. Walking up a short row of stairs and pushing past a large, gray house cat, we entered her kitchen and were warmly invited to sit down.

    The table was covered with a white doily, and atop this cloth was a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies. Agnes began to talk to us about her baking, claiming that her cookies were raved to be “the best in the world.” She then began to joyfully talk about her family, her late husband’s cat, and the fatigue of yard work. There were no uncomfortable feelings; we were her top priority, her top enjoyment. Once we had finished our sodas and Isaac his seventh or eighth cookie, we began glancing at the clock. What had meant to be 15 minutes was now drawing into an hour. Still, Agnes smiled and talked. “Would you have another cookie?” With my mind bursting with the thought of everything I could do, I stood up and said I thought we should be going. Smiling, Agnes walked us to our pickup, stopping to comment on the abundant rose bush that draped its long arms of blossoms across an arbor. At the window of our pickup, Agnes stood to finish her talk.

    Yes, she said, we probably needed to go, but she was reluctant to let the moment pass. As she walked alone back to the house, we pulled back through the driveway and on to our seemingly overwhelming list of things to do.